Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho insists it was Chelsea who decided to sell Mohamed Salah when they did, not him.
The Portuguese tactician has opened up on the Egypt international’s time at Stamford Bridge, which saw him come in in January 2014 and barely play before leaving the club on loan a year later.
Salah impressed in loan spells with Fiorentina and Roma before joining the latter on a permanent deal and earning a move back to the Premier League with Liverpool last summer.
Since then, the 25-year-old has hit the form of his life, scoring a remarkable 43 times in 47 appearances for the Reds to win the PFA Player of the Year prize and make himself favourite for the Golden Boot.
Salah’s form could yet put Liverpool into this season’s Champions League final and see him challenge Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi for the Ballon d’Or.
Mourinho, however, insists he chose to bring Salah to Chelsea but not to let him go, though he conceded he felt it was right for him to go out on loan as he wasn’t ready to play for the Blues at that time.
‘It is the first time that I am going to say this, but it is another injustice that has been talked about me,’ Mourinho told ESPN.
‘People say that I was the one that sold Salah and it is the opposite. I bought Salah.
‘It is the opposite. I was the one that bought Salah. I was the one that told Chelsea to buy Salah. It was with me in charge that Salah came to Chelsea. But he came as a young kid, physically he was not ready, mentally he was not ready, socially and culturally he was lost and everything was tough for him.
‘We decided to put him on loan and he asked for that as well. He wanted to play more minutes, to mature, he wanted to go and we sent him on loan to Fiorentina, and at Fiorentina he started to mature.
‘Chelsea decided to sell him, OK?
‘And when they say that I was the one that sold him it is a lie. I bought him. I agreed to send him on loan, I thought it was necessary, I thought that Chelsea had wingers… Some of them are still there like Willian, (Eden) Hazard and all those players already in a different level.
‘So the decision to send him on loan was a decision we made collectively, but after that, the decision to sell him and to use that money to buy another player wasn’t mine. But even if it was, in football we make mistakes a lot of times, so many times some players develop in way we were not expecting, some other don’t reach another level like we thought they would, so I don’t even think this is a mistake, it is just part of the job.
‘But effectively I did buy Salah, I didn’t sell Salah, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that he is a fantastic player, and I am really happy for everything that is happening for him and especially because he scores against everyone and he didn’t score against us in two games.’
UPDATE: Oh, and it’s already been debunked as Mourinho dodging the blame…
Mourinho in the story below: "The decision to sell Salah wasn't mine."
Which is interesting as in July 2015, he said: "I see his future elsewhere. Either on loan or sold with an offer we are happy to accept. We have five wingers and it is better not to have Salah back."
— Melissa Reddy (@MelissaReddy_) April 26, 2018